Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
Det. Ricky J. Conn Named IACP Trooper of the Year Finalist
Date of News Release: 02/13/2006
(FRANKFORT, Ky.)--- The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Division of State and Provincial Police, has selected Kentucky State Police Trooper Ricky J. Conn as one of four finalists for its most prestigious police award.
Conn, who received second- and third-degree burns on his hands, chest and face while rescuing victims of a natural gas explosion, will represent the Southern Region as a finalist for the 2005 IACP Trooper of the Year award. This is the 11th year the IACP will have presented the award to an outstanding trooper in recognition of acts of heroism or exceptional performance of duties.
The name of the 2005 IACP Trooper of the Year will be announced March 11 during the 2006 State and Provincial Police Midyear Conference in Alexandria, Va.
In December 2005, Governor Ernie Fletcher presented Conn with the Governor's Medal of Valor, which is reserved for troopers displaying conspicuous heroism in the line of duty under circumstances of extreme danger.
"Trooper Conn exemplifies the character of Kentucky State Trooper," said Governor Fletcher. "Although he was facing life-threatening injuries, he put the needs of others ahead of his own and saved the lives of two people."
Conn, a ten-year veteran of the force, was off duty during the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 2004, when the explosion occurred in his Ivey, Ky., neighborhood. Despite suffering severe burns himself, the officer rescued a mother and child from their burning house.
Conn had just returned from taking his wife to the airport and his children to school when he said he noticed a vapor hovering near his subdivision. Suspecting a water leak, he continued driving in search of a possible source. Suddenly the vapor ignited and his truck was engulfed in flames. Unable to open the door of his vehicle due to his injuries, Conn crawled out of the window and rolled his body on the ground to extinguish the flames on his clothes.
Conn then heard cries from a nearby burning residence. He entered the building, where he found a mother staggering toward him holding a small child. Conn took the child and convinced the mother, who feared for her husband's safety, to leave the residence with him and the baby.
After rescuing the mother and child, Conn was preparing to re-enter the blazing home when he observed the husband exiting on his own. Conn then collapsed due to his own injuries and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
Following months of extensive treatment for his injuries, Conn has returned to KSP Post 9 in Pikeville, his hometown, as a detective. In February 2005, he was honored by resolution of the Kentucky House of Representatives for his "courage and heroism." Conn was also presented with the Guthrie Crowe Award, which is bestowed upon Kentucky State Police officers who sustain a severe wound or injury in the performance of duty.
KSP Commissioner Mark L. Miller said he was pleased that Conn had been nominated for 2005 IACP Trooper of the Year.
"Trooper Conn made a great personal sacrifice the day he put himself in harm's way to rescue others," Miller said. "He is a model of selflessness and courage for everyone and greatly deserves this public acknowledgement of his heroism."